Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hind Swaraj

After reading 'My experiments with Truth' - the famous (and of course only) autobiography of M.K. Gandhi, i was dying to read 'Hind Swaraj', to get a view of the real ideologies of the Mahatma before he actually became one. This book is a collection of questions answered by him on Swaraj, concept of civilizations, kind of education and language to be imparted to the Indians and his idea of the India he wished to see.

Industrialization and globalization were more taboo to Gandhiji than anything else. In one way or the other i sensed so much of Communism in Gandhi's ideologies that i tried to differentiate his thoughts with it.
'We have had no system of life-corroding competition.Each followed his own occupation or trade and charged a regulation wage. It was not that we did not know how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral fibre.'

He despised industries on the whole because in his view, machinery has ruined human kind more than anything. Industries have created slaves and reduced happiness and work for all.
'Machinery is like a snake-hole which may contain from one to a hundred snakes.'

He despised railways, doctors, lawyers and of course the complete English approach of the European development.
'It must be manifest to you that, but for the railways, the English could not have such a hold on India as they have. The railways, too, have spread the bubonic plague. Without them, the masses could not move from place to place. They are the carriers of plague germs. Formerly we had natural segregation. Railways have also increased the frequency of famines because, owing to facility of means of locomotion, people sell out their grain and it is sent to the dearest markets.'

Gandhi, who himself was a lawyer and had helped Indians immensely in South Africa, felt derogatory for the profession.
'My firm opinion is that the lawyers have enslaved India, have accentuated Hindu-Mahomedan dissensions and have confirmed English authority.'

About Doctors..
'I have indigestion. I go to a doctor, he gives me medicine, I am cured. I overeat again, I take his pills again. Had I not taken the pills in the first instance, I would have suffered the punishments deserved by me and I would not have overeaten again. The doctor intervened and helped me to indulge myself. My body thereby certainly felt more at ease; but my mind became weakened. A continuance of a course of medicine must, therefore, result in loss of control over the mind.'

This book actually was used as a pamphlet to promote Gandhian philosophy to the Indians. This proscribed literature was sold at nominal cost to the proletarians across India to let them know the Gandhian philosophy and make them aware of the concept of 'Hind Swaraj'.

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